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Project Dates

2009 - Present

Improving vegetable varieties for organic systems

The NOVIC project was initiated to address a need for vegetable varieties adapted to organic production systems. The Collaborative includes public plant breeders from Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Colorado State University, Cornell University, Extension associates, USDA-ARS-PGRU, the Organic Seed Alliance, and organic farmers in each region.

Using participatory plant breeding and grower training to build better organic seed systems

The project includes variety trialing using a “Mother-Daughter” trial design with replicates at University research sites and working organic farms to compare commercially available cultivars as well as participator breeding lines.

NOVIC also uses participatory plant breeding methods to develop new varieties. Plant breeders use grower feedback to develop and test new varieties bred for organic systems.

Outreach events train farmers in on-farm plant breeding and seed production in regions across the country and provide opportunity for farmer-to-farmer learning and collaboration. These events also build connections and collaboration between breeders, seed companies and growers.

Key accomplishments, knowledge generated, outreach activities, resources created

  • 9 crops being developed for organic agriculture
  • 12 new commercial organic varieties released
  • 40 states where new varieties have been sold


Organic Research and Extension Initiative grant (USDA NIFA). Award #2018-51300- 28430

Project Members

Michael Mazourek, Kristen Loria, Crystal Stewart (CCE), Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Colorado State University, Organic Seed Alliance, USDA-ARS-PGRU

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